Day 28 - Keep Watch

Day 28 - Keep Watch

Written by: Staci Lawrence

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:45-51 MSG‬‬
45-47 “Who here qualifies for the job of overseeing the kitchen? A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day. Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. It won’t be long before the Master will put this person in charge of the whole operation.
48-51 “But if that person only looks out for himself, and the minute the Master is away does what he pleases—abusing the help and throwing drunken parties for his friends—the Master is going to show up when he least expects it, and it won’t be pretty. He’ll end up in the dump with the hypocrites, out in the cold shivering, teeth chattering.”

When I was a kid, my parents didn’t have a lot of money. We weren’t poor, but my parents had looked for ways to save any penny they could so we would have enough. My dad was raised in an old farmhouse that was heated by a wood-burning stove. He would talk about having to keep the woodpile stocked up near the furnace, about how hard it was to get the fire going and how you had to tend to the fire every few minutes to keep the flames burning. And when the fire was tended properly, the warmth from the stove would keep the whole house so warm that cold nights were never a worry.

As I entered my middle-school years, my parents made the decision to install a wood-burning stove in our home to save money. My dad taught us all the things we needed to know to start the fire and keep it going. We all took turns helping with the fire night after night. My freshmen year of highschool, my parents left me in charge of tending the stove on a cold, January night. My dad made sure to remind me to keep the wood stocked, use the poker to move the coals around, keep watch over the flames, and tend the fire so it wouldn’t go out. He knew they would be returning late, and he didn’t want the fire to go out. He knew that if the coals grew cold, we would spend our night in the cold. Being a typical teenager, I got sidetracked by my new telephone and talking with my friends. I was distracted from the work I was charged with, distracted by  my world. I laughed and talked into the night until there was a loud bang on my bedroom door, and the door flew open. My dad, filled with anger, burst through the bedroom door with the fire poker - the same poker that I was to be using to tend the coals to keep the fire going.  I was supposed to be keeping watch. Tending the flame. Working the coals to keep the house warm. Adding the wood to increase the flames. I was supposed to be mindful of my task, yet I was distracted by the world. And the punishment was cold. My father is a loving man who would never harm his children, just as our heavenly Father is loving. However, he’d given me an important responsibility, and I’d let him down.

Jesus says in Matthew 24, that a faithful servant can be trusted to oversee the house. Keep watch. Be mindful of their duties. Tend to others. Fan the kingdom flames with love. But the evil ones or the selfish think that their Master won’t return for a long time and they spend their time on selfish tasks, consumed by the world, and they forget the flame that keeps them warm.

Just as I lay in bed that evening, cold and shivering without a fire for warmth, we too shall be left in the cold if we aren’t filled with anxious anticipation for His return. When we are foolish and give no regard to the time of Jesus’ time, we will miss the opportunities to fan the flame that will keep us warm for eternity.

Today, keep watch. Watch for opportunities to tend to someone in need. Watch for a flame that needs the tender care of love and compassion. Be mindful that our work here on Earth is ever constant and should be filled with the important responsibilities of growing God’s kingdom through worship, sharing, teaching, and helping those in need.

Lord Jesus, you give us such responsibility to love others yet we often fail and anger you in our own selfishness. Today, and until your return, set my mind on you while I wait. Help my thoughts and actions be solely on how I can serve and love others no matter how long my time on Earth. Thank you for your constant warmth of love I don’t deserve.